COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Gov. Henry McMaster says he's reluctantly vetoed $20.5 million for new school buses in South Carolina, saying lawmakers should not have used money from the lottery to buy or lease them.
McMaster issued 41 budget vetoes worth more than $56 million Monday.
McMaster says lottery money for buses is based on extra ticket sales and other revenue, so the funds are not guaranteed. The plan also does not follow the lottery's original purpose to provide money for college scholarships.
The state's $8 billion spending plan has another $8 million for school buses in different sections.
In a statement released Monday afternoon, State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said:
By vetoing funding for the purchase of new school buses, the Governor is putting the safety of our students at risk. Our school bus fleet incorporates more than 1500 buses that are over 20 years old and not only are these old buses twice as expensive to operate and maintain, but they are also experiencing structural and mechanical issues. I am deeply disappointed in the decision to veto this essential funding and remain committed to working with the General Assembly to override it and ensure South Carolina’s students have a safe means of transportation to and from school.
McMaster also vetoed a plan to strip power from the Commission of Higher Education and restored nearly $17 million for the state Conservation Bank.
They are his first budget vetoes after taking office in January.